Immigration Reform took a major blow in the headlines but behind the scenes the expansion of the 601A Waiver program takes effect scoring a major win for the Obama Administration and immigration reform.
As most of you probably know already, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a single sentence decision in Texas v. US stating only that the Court was split 4 to 4. This split was of course due to the vacancy on the Court left by the passing of Justice Scalia.
As a result Obama’s announcement to expand DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) aka DREAMERs and DAPA (deferred action for Parents of US children) have both died. DACA remains but as it existed before, it will not be expanded. DAPA will simply not be enacted.
When President Obama made the announcements about DACA & DAPA he also announced expansions to the 601A Waiver program and enforcement priorities for DHS. The announcements made on November 20, 2014, were officially published as Memorandums from the Secretary of the Department of Justice, Jeh Johnson, as Department-wide policy.
The expansion of the 601A waiver program was never challenged in Court. Therefore, the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that effective August 29, 2016, they will begin accepting 601A waiver applications based on the expanded criteria. Under the expanded 601A rule many more people are eligible to obtain a green card. The rule opens the door to spouses of Legal Permanent Residents a/k/a green card holders, children of green card holders, and those with approved employment visas or family preference based visas. The new rule even allows immigrants subject to a removal or deportation order to apply!
The new 601A rule did not make as many headlines as the DACA/DAPA programs and the Texas lawsuit. However, it is a major victory for immigration reform. You can find out more about the new rule at New York Immigration Lawyers website.